So let’s kick this off with the cold, hard facts: Mr and Mrs Dursley are anything but perfectly fucking normal, thank you very much. They’re a pair of abusive morons, to be frank.
Now I’ve got that off my chest — and my lord have I been holding that one in for the past two decades — let’s talk about Chapter One: The Boy Who Lived. Poor, normal Mr Dursley with his lack of neck (but abundance of mustache) kicks us off with a jaunt down the road to Grunnings. Perfecty normal. The whole thing is so normal, because they’re perfectly normal, don’t ya know? It’s all drills and shit.
That is, until Durzo notices some decidedly un-normal (shock fucking horror) happenings ‘pon road. His reaction? Utter unadulterated, “normal” rage, of course. If Mr Dursley had Twitter, I’m pretty sure his photo would be one of those eggs and he would be a neck-less, spineless troll of Trump-worthy magnitude. We get a sneak peek at some of the things old Durz would be complaining about in 140-characters over the very first few pages of the book:
- wizard shaming people on the streets
- underestimating the ability of cats to read signs and maps
- The POTTERS (who are they?)
- people (Uncle Vernon is actually me)
- imagination — our first meeting with Dedalus Diggle presents him with not only physical affection (a hug: gross and totally abnormal) but ALSO the word Muggle, which of course must be make-believe and not in the realm of normality.
Dursley’s character arc throughout this very first chapter is something pretty special — from losing his shit with anger in the morning, he’s worried he’s actually losing his shit in the evening. You can almost feel his jowls shaking from the cat-enduced stupor, it’s mint.
Now we’ve heard mention of “their crowd” thus far, but what is Durzlebee going on about? A rival gang from a neighbouring street? A bitter competitor of Grunnings Drills? We do not have to wait long for that sweet confirmation, ‘cause in stomps the MVP of the wizarding world: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
Now let’s be clear: “Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive”. ‘Cause they’re so normal, ya know. Raw suburban normality. And in swoops this old guy and his Put-Outer (it’s a deluminator, come the fuck on Joanne). Queue the street going dark, cat becoming McGonagall, and some essential bants about lemon drops.
McGonagall, in my not so humble opinion, is the baddest bitch of the entire franchise, but that’s a story for another time. She and Dumbledore basically wax lyrical about — dun dun dunnn — Voldemort, who has smashed his way into Godrick’s Hollow on a sesh and ended up taking a hit off his own fucking curse like a moron.
“To Harry Potter — The boy who lived!”
Hagrid arrives atop a gigantic fucking flying motorbike which of course no Muggle can see because of the deluminator (I’m skeptical Joanne but I’ll let you off), and Harry is unceremoniously dumped on the Durz-step with nothing but a letter. A LETTER! Cheers Dumbledore. Poor Harry could’ve frozen to death or been abducted by a local biker gang, and then who would be The Saviour? Noone thinks of this shit. Neglect and abuse at every turn. I’m calling the NSPCC.
Anyway, I digress. All that’s left to say on the matter of Chapter One is it’s defo time to pour one out for the one and only “Harry Potter — The boy who lived!” Cheers.